London steals New York’s crown for economic clout in PwC’s international Cities of Opportunity Index

Published at 10:45 AM on 19 May 2014

Download PwC Cities of Opportunity Index 2014

  • London top for economic clout and as an international travel and tourism gateway
  • UK capital  is ‘technologically on the top of its game” for development, design and internet access

London has claimed top spot as a centre for business, finance and culture for the first time, in Cities of Opportunity - PwC’s sixth annual index of 30 major cities internationally.  

The city’s economic clout, reputation as an urban gateway, technology access, and development and design capabilities topped a strong performance across a range of indicators measuring how major international cities are developing.  

London claimed the number one position (up from 3rd last time) with a considerable margin, ahead of New York, Singapore, Toronto, and San Francisco.Cities of Opportunity also highlights the increasing competitiveness of emerging cities across several key indicators, including Beijing, Buenos Aires and Seoul.

Reinforcing London's growing reputation as a tech hub, the report finds the city is “technologically on top of its game” leaping from eighth place in last year’s report to joint first with Seoul for technology readiness this year.  

London gets top ranking for software and multimedia development and design, finishes second overall for broadband quality (up 12 places on last year), and ranks third behind only Singapore and Seoul for internet access in schools.

The UK capital finishes a narrow second to Paris in intellectual capital and innovation, up on last year’s performance, with strong performance in the number of people in higher education, the quality of universities, and access to libraries. Only Sydney beats the capital for demographics and liveability, both key areas for future urban prosperity assessed in the report.

However the report warns that London's performance in terms of cost and the environment could be better, with the city slipping to mid table overall against its competitors on cost, sustainability and the environment.   

David Snell, partner, PwC in London, said:

“London’s reputation as an economic powerhouse is well established, and reinforced when you consider it is the second most successful city in the Index for attracting foreign direct investment.

“What’s particularly interesting this year is the city’s growing digital reputation. There’s no doubt that this is linked to London’s impressive performance across indicators on education, technology access, skills, and ease of doing business.

“High performing cities in the index have to find the right balance between social and economic strengths. Like many big international cities, there’s a price to pay for success. For London, while it has moved up the rankings on cost and environmental challenges, there are still lessons to be learned from international competitors on these issues.”

The Cities of Opportunity key indicators and top three cities within each are:
-    Economic clout: London, Beijing, New York
-    Technology readiness: London and Seoul tied for first place, Stockholm
-    City gateway: London, Beijing, Singapore
-    Intellectual capital and innovation: Paris, London, San Francisco
-    Demographics and liveability: Sydney, London, San Francisco
-    Transportation and infrastructure: Singapore, Toronto, Buenos Aires and Seoul tied for third (London – 6th)
-    Health, safety and security: Stockholm, Sydney and Toronto tied for second (London – 6th)
-    Sustainability and the natural environment: Stockholm and Sydney tied for first, Paris and Berlin tied for third (London – 17th)
-    Ease of doing business: Singapore, Hong Kong, New York (London – 5th)
-    Cost: Los Angeles, Chicago, Johannesburg (London – 15th)

Despite not having a top rank in any indicator, the report finds New York continues to show strong consistency across most of the categories. Other significant moves include Singapore, which rises four spots this year. Overall it came in third place behind New York primarily driven by its commitment to top infrastructure and ease of doing business as two keys to a city’s development.

Cities of Opportunity also highlights the increasing competitiveness of emerging cities across several key indicators. Beijing, which ranked 19th, finishes in the top three as both a city gateway and in the economic clout category. Seoul is top in technology readiness and is the only emerging city to reach the top 10 in the ease of doing business indicator. Seoul and Buenos Aires also break into the top three for transportation and infrastructure, while Johannesburg is in the top three for cost.


For interview please contact [email protected] / +44 7841 563 180
Download PwC Cities of Opportunity Index 2014

1.    Methodology: Cities of Opportunity is based on publicly available data, using three main sources: global multilateral development organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; national statistics organizations, such as National Statistics in the UK and the Census Bureau in the US; and commercial data providers. The data was collected during the third and fourth quarters of 2013. Besides adding Jakarta, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro to this year’s study, PwC also replaced Abu Dhabi with Dubai, which brought the study to 30 cities total, the largest to date. The scoring methodology was developed to facilitate transparency and simplicity for readers, as well as comparability across cities.
2.    Overall, the 30 cities ranked in order are: 1. London; 2. New York; 3. Singapore; 4. Toronto; 5. San Francisco; 6. Paris; 7. Stockholm; 8. Hong Kong; 9. Sydney; 10. Chicago; 11. Berlin; 12. Los Angeles; 13. Tokyo; 14. Seoul; 15. Madrid; 16. Dubai; 17. Kuala Lumpur; 18. Milan; 19. Beijing; 20. Shanghai; 21. Moscow; 22. Mexico City; 23. Johannesburg; 24. Buenos Aires; 25. Istanbul; 26. Sao Paulo; 27. Rio de Janeiro; 28. Mumbai; 29. Jakarta; 30. Nairobi.


Rowena Mearley
PwC | Senior Manager - Media Relations
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